I was going to finish my blog about my weekend trip to Cebu today, I promised myself. Since I got home Monday morning, I had done nothing but sleep as the flu ravaged my body. I guess the long hours of nonstop chatting took a toll on my system as I lost my voice and developed a nasty cold.
And then, something happened to me this morning, something quite unusual in the ordinary scheme of my recent life. I had the strangest dream. Well, not just one, but two. Two strange dreams in less than 24 hours and I felt I had to write about it to try and make sense of it all.
Yesterday, in the middle of a fever, I fell asleep in our darkened bedroom. I had taken an antipyretic/decongestant half an hour before and the med must have gotten me sleepy. And so I dreamt. Which is nothing unusual because I dream every time I sleep, as we all do. Unlike many of you, however, I remember every single thing that happened in my dreams when I wake up.
I should keep a dream diary; you’d be surprised at the things I have dreamt of. From my own death (executed as a hostage, weird) to being someone else in another place (weird again) to driving a half-car, well, my dreams can be outrageous but sometimes they can also be quite revealing. Whatever they are, most of them are as detailed and as lucid as this one.
I must have fallen asleep for two hours yesterday afternoon, enough time to go into one whole REM cycle. I woke up suddenly, I don’t remember why, but I felt unsettled the moment I did. The last thing I saw in my dream was the face of a young woman smiling at me. She seemed so peaceful and so happy.
It took me a few minutes to remember who she was. I closed my eyes to recall the last few snippets of that dream, now slowly fading away, and then I recognized the face and got goose pimples all over. The young woman I dreamt of was the daughter of my neighbor. She passed away four or five years ago from leukemia.
M, as we shall call her, was only 14 when she died. I had not thought of her for a long time. I knew the circumstances of her illness and diagnosis were brief. She had but a few weeks before she died, and knowing she would put her family in even more dire circumstances (her mom stayed at home, her dad did not have a stable job, and there were four kids, only two of whom were in school), she told her parents she would much rather keep her hair than lose it all through chemotherapy.
Just two short weeks after diagnosis, she passed away. Her wake was in their small, cramped home, a small hole in the wall in a confusing maze of narrow shacks piled one on top of another. There was hardly any room for visitors when her coffin was placed inside their home. There were a few forlorn homemade floral arrangements standing near her coffin. Her mom had brushed her jet-black hair till it shined and laid it across her shoulders. That day I paid my last respects, D, her mom, showed me an ID-sized photo covered in plastic, taken from that year’s enrollment records. This would be their only remaining picture of her.
I don’t know what prompted that dream but it was all I could think of last night. The way M looked at me, her dimples framed in a serene smile, her eyes bright and happy. Was there a message in that short dream? I scratched my head and wondered. Did I unconsciously summon a memory of her? I don’t know.
Now, if that first dream rattled me, this one shook me to the core. Just this morning, after A♥ had gone really early to a golf tournament and the boys moved from their beds to mine, I dreamt again. And in this dream, which was as vivid as real life, I saw A♥’s mom standing by the foot of our bed, where the boys and I were sleeping.
She had longer hair now, curly and styled in a bob. She looked young and happy. I noticed her cheeks were full and rosy. And smiling down at us three, as we laid there in bed, I saw her climb up the bed. She mouthed “I love you” and then kissed me on the lips.
I woke up with a start at 6:45 this morning with that dream still clearly etched in my mind, the sensation of those lips still on mine. Why was I dreaming of the dead again? On one hand, I think of M’s and Mom’s countenances and I feel joy remembering the smiles on their faces. On the other, I keep feeling I am missing out on something they are trying to tell me.
Whatever it is, I hope I am doing enough by telling this and by remembering them even when they are long gone. I shall whisper a prayer for them both tonight. And if by God’s will, I am destined to meet them again, I pray that our reunion be as welcoming as that sweet kiss I felt on my lips this morning.
I had previously written about similar experiences in Dreaming of the Dead. I did not imagine there would be a part II. Please click the link to read that article.